Wednesday, May 30

Another quick update

Here's the new project that I alluded to yesterday. The yarn is Jaeger extra fine merino aran, shade 554 which is a beautifully deep turquoise. It is very soft, tightly spun and almost edible (not that I make a habit of eating turquoise food...!).I can't remember exactly how much it cost per 50g ball but I know it was Definitely A Bargain in the sales in John Lewis earlier this year. Half price at least, perhaps £2 a ball? Whatever, I bought enough for a large item because I thought it would make a lovely jumper or cardy or whatever.

Of course ever since then I haven't been able to find a pattern that I liked - I've never been very good at adapting patterns to suit the yarn, I'm a bit of a wimp in that way. Or perhaps I'm just not patient enough to swatch, frog, swatch again, experiment, frog etc. But since I haven't been able to find ANYTHING, and getting more and more frustrated, I decided to have a go for myself. I've also been reading some Elizabeth Zimmerman books; her no-nonsense tone and clear explanations have given me a bit more backbone and the courage to make the break!

So first, of course, I swatched! Actually I quite like the logic of swatching on a vaguely appropriate needle size, then adapting the pattern to suit. Rather than swatching on numerous needle sizes until you suit the pattern. Much less effort (ahem!). Of course it makes it more complex if you have to fit in a pattern with a certain number of stitches, etc, but when you are just planning stocking stitch, who cares?

I then cast on for the neck (planning to pick up later when the item is complete, to add whatever style of neck I am in the mood for at the time) and am now increasing down the raglan arms, knitting happily away in the round. Every now and again measuring the length/counting the number of stitches until I know (from the swatch, natch) that the arms will fit. Hmm, so far so simple! I'm liking it at this stage - let's see how things progress!

Tuesday, May 29

Monkey business

Back from an odyssey through France and Spain - five trains, several hundred km of driving, four different beds and plenty of continental beer and exotic food!

Not as much knitting as predicted - naturally I took half a suitcase full of yarn and needles along with me, several new patterns, ideas and plans. In the end I did very little.

But I finished the monkey socks! Hurrah! Good job too, as they were much appreciated on the sleeper train back from Cerberes to Paris this morning! I also got quite a long way into my new jumper - which is a 'pattern' of my own I've cobbled together in order to use up the sale yarn I bought earlier this year. Nothing exotic about the pattern, but it's coming out quite nicely! More of that later.

Now I'm off to put the heating on, slip on my socks and curl up under a duvet to enjoy our typical English summer!

Sunday, May 20

Holiday time

The Curse and I are having a well-earned break for the next week or so. I'll be back online after the bank holiday weekend. In the meantime, happy knitting!!!

Saturday, May 19

On the finishing blocks!

Well, here it is at last! The Curse's jumper, in the middle of being blocked and waiting for its zip to be set in! (By the way it's navy- very difficult to photograph, not to mention tedious to knit!

He walks past it every half hour or so and says something like 'It's the dog's!" and 'Wicked!' as well as muttering something very worrying about not wanting to wear it. Well Mister, I can tell you as sure as eggs is eggs you damn well will be wearing it, just as soon as I've got that zip in and eveything is finished!

In the meantime, all is well with the world - the FA Cup result was apparently the right one, and we're off on our hols on Monday!

Friday, May 18

All present and correct

Well, I've lost the Monkey race (Grrr to you Nicola!!) but I've been helluva busy today, knocking up this last minute gift for Lotte. It's her birthday tomorrow, and since she's still persisting with the knitting, I thought I'd give her something to carry her knitting around in. Having completed an ipod cover she's now decided she want to do something a bit more adventurous, and she's starting a pair of Fetching gloves.

And now she'll be able to carry all her stuff around in the new zip up bag; outer fabric from last year's Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate, inner colour inspired by the zip I found at the bottom of my sewing basket, and inner fabric & contents from the wonderful Peter & Joan's on Deptford High Street.

It's not the best-finished item I've ever made, but it looks good and the colours are fab, so I'm quite proud considering I whipped it up in a day and it's perfectly acceptable!

Wednesday, May 16

Swift and silent

I was led down this dangerous alley of retail opportunity by Natalie at the Yarn Yard.

And relief was supplied by Sunflower Swifts and Sublime Spindles. Within days and smelling of walnut oil or something similar!

Totally recommended!

Tuesday, May 15


Thanks to Nicola for this one...

Bold = I've done it!
Italics = I'm planning it!
Normal = no chance/why would I?!

Afghan/Blanket (baby)

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn (perlease!)
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting (never really given it any thought)
Participating in a KAL (only if Sockapalooza counts!)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn (does frogging count?! hah!!!)
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)(perhaps...)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting (someone explain please)
Charity knitting (I'd say the Curse's boring cardy counts..)
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan (Harumph!)
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental Knitting (tried and failed. Habits from being taught as a child run very very deep)
Designing knitted garments (could be sooner rather than later..)
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes (only in crochet)
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting (ask me again next year)
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting (what is this - bikinis?!)
Teaching a male how to knit (come on lads, where are you?!)
Knitting for a living (got to get a cheaper life first!)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Steeks (when I get a surge of courage)
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Entrelac (maybe.)
Knitting and purling backwards (nah)
Machine knitting (would love to learn)
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern (crochet)
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies (I believe this means pre-teens...)
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting(yes, some of my attempts could be described as this...!)
Short rows(LOVE EM)
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting (ahem, just had to Google that. And I don't think I'll bother)
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (yeuch!)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Monday, May 14

Things happen

Well, after a weekend out in the wilds of Derbyshire, things are moving on the knitting front.

Firstly, sock news! The Monkeys are about three quarters finished - the first one was grafted at the toe on the train up to Derby, Friday night, and the second heel was turned on the train on the way back to London, Sunday afternoon. You'll see them here first. I'll be honest - although I'm very proud of the heel, it's probably the best I've done, I don't like the grafted toe any longer. Now that I've done short row toes, I don't think there's any going back. The grafted one just looks too square and blocky.

Second sock news is that I've just purchased the yarn for my secret sock pal's gift. She requested blue or brown, and I've bought a gorgeous browny/orangey skein from Natalie at the Yarn Yard. Should get that in a few days - hurray! I'm also awaiting another purchase to turn up - I'm not going to reveal what it is just yet, you'll have to wait and see!

The other major news is that I've made a pledge. Next week is Holiday time. The Curse and I will be taking the slow train(s) to Barcelona, and as all knitters know, trains=knitting time! I'm desperate to start something for myself, but with the Curse's Cardy hanging over me, I've decided I will only be allowed to take a new project with me if I've finished all the sewing on the cardy beforehand. I'm not promising to set in the zip - hell, I've got to buy the zip yet, and I know I can't do that until I've washed and blocked the cardy anyway, which could be a long operation.

So the question is, what the hell am I doing sitting here?! Got to get me downstairs and start stitching RIGHT NOW!

Friday, May 11

Knit and crochet

Looky looky! First monkey sock is almost done - it was a good job that I put it on in order to photograph it for the blog, since I hadn't realised I was nearly there and would blithely have carried on patterning the foot until I ran out of yarn! Hopefully I'll be onto the second one within no time at all.

Meanwhile I've been knocking up a few whimsical bits of crochet jewellery. This cotton is very fine and fits the bill perfectly even if it is a little fiddly. The flower necklace is similar to one I've done before, albeit in thicker cotton and a larger size, but the other choker-style is an experiment to see if I can come up with something different.

I've finally had some feedback from my Sockapalooza match with a bit more info about her and her sock preferences. The Excellent News is that she wants blue or brown socks, which is great cos I have absolutely no blue or brown sock yarn in my stash. Hurrah! Retail therapy opportunity awaits!!

And now the magazine has gone to press, you'll be seeing a little more of me, I hope. Of course I mean a little more in terms of frequency, rather than acreage (yikes!)

Incidentally, anyone who lives in the south east London area - a note for your diary. It's open weekend at the Cockpit Arts studio in Deptford next weekend 18/19/20. Come along and see what the crafters in this part of the world get up to - there is everything from textiles and ceramics to jewellery and stained glass, all of it fantastic quality and many things for sale. Start your christmas shopping early!!

Tuesday, May 8

Normal service...

..will be resumed shortly. I am struggling with deadlines, working all hours at the moment and no time to do anything except read pages and check captions. However at least I know it will all be finished very soon and I'll be able to chill and knit.

Since I know that there are at least a couple of people out there who read my blog and feel slightly aggrieved - perhaps even disappointed? - when I don't blog every day, I felt the need to at least say hello! I am listening, honest, but right now there's just not enough time in the day for everything I have to do.

I have a little crochet project on the go, which involves the very fine cotton thread I inherited from a colleague who moved house recently. Wasn't quite sure what I could do with it, but it seems it is perfect for jewellery! I'll try and post a picture of my first attempt in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, a gratuitous picture of the penny slots (except they are tupenny slots these days. That's inflation for you! *sigh*)

Thursday, May 3

Slow knitting

Things progress, but only slowly. Work is really busy right now - making early starts and late nights for a few weeks. When I chill out a bit more I will have time for knitting, film making, reading etc - that's the theory anyway.
Here's some slow progress Monkey socks (first one) and the plastic bag of plastic bags.

Meanwhile, a new project - I have heard from my Sockpal and I've contacted the person for whom I am the Sockpal (check out the Sockapalooza link if you don't know what I'm talking about!) So I have the opportunity to purchase additional sock yarn and think of new patterns! Hurrah!

Tuesday, May 1

Deptford delights, part I

I cross the bridge from which this photo was taken regularly - whether cycling to the swimming baths, walking into Greenwich, going to meet friends at the Ashburnham Arms or whatever. It's the Ha'penny Bridge over Deptford Creek, looking through the railway bridge, downstream towards the Thames. I love this view because it's always different, with the tide ebbing and flowing, ducks, moorhens and the like sailing up and down the creek, and the changing light. I don't take much notice of the multicoloured shed any more - it's just a rather pleasant backdrop to an altogether more interesting scene. The Creekside Centre right next to the bridge does regular low tide walks through the mud - I must make a mental note to get to one of them this summer. This area is steeped with history, mostly shipbuilding and docks, and when the tide is right out and you can see the stone setts below the water, it brings it all into sharp focus.

My weekend

Very little knitting - the sock and the not-a-plastic-bag-but-many-plastic-bags continue to grow slowly. No progress on the Curse's jumper. I think I'm avoiding finishing the knitting because I know I'll have to face The Zip when it's done.

Instead? Two days of Operation Smoothover, and far too much time at B&Q. I am the Smoothover Queen, I've now got into the hang of it and reckon another day's hard graft will see all the plasterboard fully smoothed. Then we only have to sand it down before we can start painting. I'll keep you posted. Like you really care....